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16 December 2009
Image: Steve Round
Our nature reserve at Brodgar is spectacularly located between the Lochs of Harray and Stenness and surrounds the Ring of Brodgar, which lies at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.
Our work here, since acquiring the reserve in 2001, has aimed to balance the restoration of semi-natural habitats with maintaining a low-intensity arable rotation. The result has been the creation of a wonderful mix of Orkney wildlife as a backdrop to the Ring. Lapwings, curlews, redshanks and snipe all breed as do skylarks, ducks and gulls.
We will continue to restore the agriculturally improved pasture to semi-natural habitats of wetland and grassland and continue the low input, arable rotation system which will provide a mosaic of spring sown crops, meadow and pasture managed for farmland biodiversity including corncrakes, which we fully expect to return to this area.
We are managing the reserve to provide suitable habitat for the nationally important great yellow bumblebee, by maintaining the presence wild flowers and by planting special bee crops. In addition to this, farmland bird crops have been planted to provide a valuable food source wintering birds such as twites, linnets and reed buntings.
Over 60,000 people visit the Ring of Brodgar each year and we will work closely with Historic Scotland to increasingly engage with visitors to the site to demonstrate habitat restoration and management to a wide audience, linked closely to Orkney's cultural heritage.